Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Clutter-Free Home, One Room at a Time

Yesterday, my mom and my grandmother were kind enough to descend upon my house armed with energy and goodwill, determined to help me whip my full-of-C.H.A.O.S. home into shape.  You see, this baby I'm lugging around is due practically any day now, and it's difficult for me to do a lot of housework, especially heavy-duty housework, for any length of time.  I was starting to panic that nothing was going to get done in time, so I am immensely thankful they stepped in to lend a hand.  

And oh boy did they help!  By tackling the two most cluttered rooms in the house, the kids' rooms, they single-handedly knocked out two of my biggest sources of stress.  Before yesterday, I couldn't see my kids' floors.  Toys, trash and laundry littered every surface, and the kids could barely walk to their beds without falling over and tripping over the clutter.  Embarrassing? Absolutely. It's always bothered me that my kids' spaces were in such deplorable condition, when they should have had nice, clean, peaceful places to play. But, there never seemed to be enough time, or motivation, or help for me to tackle what I'd started to see as an insurmountable problem. 

I wish I had taken "Before" photos, even though I'm not sure I would have had the guts to post them.   

In the end, we removed seven (SEVEN!!) bags of trash and old toys from the two rooms, and the difference in space was unbelievable!  It was hard work for my mom and grandma, and all of their hard work definitely showed at the end of the day.  Now, my kids' toys actually fit in their toyboxes - the first time this has ever happened in our family!  And the kids were so happy and proud of their "new" rooms; they've been picking up their toys frequently (and voluntarily!) to keep their new spaces looking nice.  

I did learn something valuable about decluttering a child's room: it is definitely easiest to do when the child in question isn't home.  Then, there's no whining over which toys are going in the "toss" pile, and which are going in the trash. Plus, when the child returns home, the "missing" items are never really missed and instead they are forgotten about almost immediately.  What might have been a four day job had my children been home interfering with the purging process only took about six hours.  And what a difference six hours has made!

I'm looking forward to continuing the purging and decluttering process through the rest of the house, and keeping the kids' room clean and clutter-free.  We've instituted mandatory Toy Pick Up Time three times during the day: before lunch, before dinner, and before bed.  So far the kids are eager and willing to keep to the new rules.  I'm sure that'll change a bit as the newness wears off, but I'm confident we can keep control of the clutter now.  

Have you had a major success cleaning out a child's room or toys?  Do you have any tips or tricks to help others along?  I'd love to hear about them!

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